Singapore – Typically, parents often have very high expectations for their children to live up to – whether it is to achieve something they couldn’t, to ensure a secure future, or for bragging rights, perhaps.
An anonymous confessor posted in a popular platform called NUSWhispers of his experience when he fell short of his parent’s expectations and was labelled as a “姑娘” (gu niang, meaning “sissy” in Mandarin in this context).
The author began by saying that he was currently serving NS but has been accepted at the National University of the Singapore “so I hope it’s okay if I post my experience on toxic masculinity here.”
He acknowledged that his parents love him very much and were always supportive in his endeavours during enlistment, such as checking up on him at night, picking him up from Pasir Ris and buying snacks for the week.
However, it would seem that his parents had a “shortcoming” when it came to his position for NS.
“I didn’t perform very well for my BMT, which meant that I got a posting in a non-combat vocation, specifically a logistics quartermaster,” wrote the author.
He went on to say that in his parents’ eyes, only the Guards Formation, Commando Formation (CDO), Officer Cadet School (OCS) or Naval Diving Unit (NDU) are perceived as “hero” vocations.
“When my parents were always going on about how I have to go to a “hero” vocation, they were absolutely crestfallen when they heard about my posting,” shared the anonymous confessor.
The parents even went as far as tapping their connections and requesting for a change in their son’s posting – all behind his back.
“And when those efforts proved fruitless, it was when I realized how toxic they could be when it came to my masculinity,” said the author. “I was berated for being in a 姑娘 vocation, which was meant for ‘useless’ people.”
He added that his parents would “encourage” him to lie during family gatherings “to avoid embarrassment.”
What’s more, is that he stopped receiving the emotional support he used to get before.
“On days where I had offs or half days, I would be greeted with a ‘why are you home so early’ rather than a ‘welcome home,’” shared the downtrodden son.
“They would compare me with my cousins and ask why I was not able to live up to the standards of the family.”
Inheritance was even brought into the picture when his parents said that he would not get any because a 姑娘 did not need money “as she is not the breadwinner of the family.”
“That last one really hit close to home as I have never, nor will I ever ask and pry about money, let alone family inheritance. So, for them to think that I was eyeing their money was really heartbreaking to me,” said the author.
The author also shared that his parents recently informed him that they would not be attending his specialist graduation parade, which was the last straw that prompted the son to confess.
“Mum, Dad, I love you both and should the time come, I would die for you,” wrote the son. “Is that not enough to constitute what a ‘man’ should be?”
He went on to ask for advice because he is dealing with things alone and also urged parents not to “adopt the same mindset” as his parents.
The online community was quick to comfort and support the anonymous confessor, with some even offering to attend his graduation ceremony if his parents are a no-show.
Many also advised him to “take pride in what he is doing because he is making a difference.” They even gave the details as to why a logistician is equally vital in the army.
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